Achieving financial freedom is a goal for many people across the world. Depending on who you ask, it can range from retiring early to pursuing a career without being driven by salary. But for everyone, it simply comes down to having enough wealth to afford the life we desire for ourselves and our families.
Financial freedom can be elusive if you live in a country with a national fiat currency that consistently loses its purchasing power and a government policy that restricts what you can do with your capital.
Broadly speaking, Bitcoin was first created as a solution to all three of those problems. The OG cryptocurrency was designed as a scarce digital bearer asset, accessible to everyone, built on a peer-to-peer decentralized and borderless network, with full transparency around transactions, holdings, and global money supply. No institution can prevent you from buying Bitcoin, confiscate your holdings, or restrict your abilities to transact peer-to-peer.
While the first wave of Bitcoin adoption by the developed countries was a response to the Global Financial Crisis which unraveled around 2008, the idea that Bitcoin can help achieve financial freedom has since taken hold globally.
Hyper hedge against hyperinflation
The narrative around Bitcoin has evolved a lot over the last few years. It is no longer considered a currency for everyday payments (even though that is how El Salvador has implemented Bitcoin), but rather a form of digital gold that allows people to store wealth uncorrelated to their national fiat currency. As such, Bitcoin can act as a hedge against inflation which helps achieve financial freedom by protecting cash savings from losing purchasing power.
That is why crypto adoption really took off in places like Venezuela, when the economy first started experiencing hyperinflation. When your local currency drops 3,600% annually on average, Bitcoin is a highly useful way to protect the value of your savings. Even amidst cyclical volatility, BTC drops 60-80% during bad times.
But the situation doesn’t have to be as dramatic as hyperinflation for Bitcoin to help achieve financial freedom. In Turkey , inflation has averaged 32% between 1960 and 2021. It should be no surprise that crypto adoption rates in Turkey are among the highest in the world as more people learn about crypto, and how assets like Bitcoin can help preserve the value of their savings.
Access for everyone, controlled by individuals
In many places worldwide, people don’t have access to basic financial services and products either because of a lack of infrastructure or maliciously by design. In developing countries, the mobile phone penetration is very high which allows mobile banks to solve the infrastructure problem – bypassing the legacy systems that exist in developed nations and going straight to digital banks where people can open bank accounts remotely for example.
However, if access to financial services is restricted to certain groups of people by design, the solution lies in crypto. For example, most women in Afghanistan are not permitted to open bank accounts which greatly reduces their ability to gain independence – in every sense of the word, not just financially. The resurgence of the Taliban in late 2021 puts some people in precarious situations as they were unable to evacuate families and contribute financially.
Bitcoin does not have opinions or rules that decide who gets access and who does not. Everyone has equal access to the same ‘digital gold’, and we all see the same prices for buying and selling Bitcoin. And once you have Bitcoin, no oppressive rulers have the power to say you can’t own it and restrict your ability to use it. Women in Afghanistan that own Bitcoin are free to send Bitcoin to another wallet. Even if you live under a blanket ban such as stringent capital controls, Bitcoin still offers a way for people to achieve financial freedom and truly own their wealth.
Building a better financial system
Lastly, Bitcoin has enabled us to build an entirely new financial system from the ground up. What once started with a single cryptocurrency has now exponentially grown into thousands of digital assets such as stablecoins, utility tokens, security tokens, governance tokens, GameFi tokens, and NFTs. All these tokens can be used across the many Decentralized Finance applications built on different blockchains for a variety of services and products.
Most importantly, true to the core tenets of Bitcoin envisioned in the whitepaper, this new decentralized economy is equally accessible to everyone globally. Anyone can participate in DeFi by investing, borrowing, lending, governing, staking, yield farming and more. Entire gamer guilds were set up in the Philippines to maximize earning potential in Axie Infinity, one of the leading GameFi applications that created an income stream for many people worldwide.
All transactions in the decentralized economy are fully visible to everyone. Unlike the TradFi world of backchannels and handshake deals, everyone in DeFi has access to the same information at the same time. This means that the new financial system we are building finally gives people a realistic chance to obtain financial freedom without getting the ‘sucker retail deal’ handed out by Big Money.